Drinking herbal tea has proven to be soothing for one’s throat, comforting, and even have some health benefits. While most people opt to purchase tea leaves or tea bags at a local store for convenience, did you know you can dry your own leaves for tea at home?
If you live somewhere that produces herbs you’d like to use for tea or are specifically growing plants that you plan to use for tea, learning how to dry the leaves is critical to enjoying a fresh cup of tea.
There are a couple of different ways you can dry leaves. Here are a few tea-drying tea leaves that you can try.
The Hanging Method
One of the most popular methods for drying leaves for tea is the hanging or air dry method. It’s the cheapest, but it does take the longest for most people. So, if you have spare time, you’ll enjoy his approach. Here’s how to dry your tea leaves with the hanging method.
1. Harvest Your Herbs
First things first, you’ll need to harvest your leaves. The best time to do this is in the late morning once the dew is dry. You can gather the leaves whenever, but this is just the best time, in our opinion.
2. Brush Off Dirt
After you’ve harvested your leaves, you’ll want to brush off any dirt and debris that are lingering on the leaves. Many people will tell you to wash the leaves, but you don’t want to add extra moisture to the leaves because they can get moldy instead of drying, and then your efforts are lost.
When you use water to get the dirt off, you won’t allow for proper drying, which can compromise the flavor of the tea.
3. Make Small Bunches of Leaves
Gather your leaves and make small bunches of leaves. You don’t want to put too many together, or it will take longer to dry.
4. Hang The Leaf Bunches
Once you’ve made your leaf bunches, you can hand them upside down with some string in a warm and dry place. You don’t want any direct sunlight. This method can take days to a week, depending on the temperature and humidity where you hang them.
Use a Dehydrator
Only some people own a dehydrator, so this might not be an option for everyone, but it’s still one of the best and worth mentioning. Even if you don’t own a dehydrator, if you are regularly drying leaves for tea, it could be a wise investment. Here’s how to use a dehydrator to make leaves for tea.
1. Gather Your Leaves
The first step to using a dehydrator is gathering your leaves.
2. Place Your Leaves on the Dehydrator Tray
Once you’ve gathered your leaves, pull the dehydrator tray out and place the leaves inside. Be sure to leave some room between the leaves for air circulation.
3. Dehydrate Your Tea Leaves
You’ll need to set your dehydrator to about 135º F and then slide the tray into the dehydrator. You’ll leave the leaves inside for 12 to 24 hours until they’re fully dry. Once the time is up, let the leaves cool completely before attempting to handle them.
Use an Oven
There are better options than this, but it’s still an option to dry your leaves for tea. Before diving into this method, you’ll need to pay careful attention throughout the process to make sure nothing burns, whereas the previous two ways don’t require any engagement on your part. It will also heat up your house substantially and require a lot of energy or gas.
1. Harvest Your Herbs
As always, be sure to harvest your herbs and brush off any dirt that might be on them.
2. Place Them on a Tray
Grab a tray that is safe to use in the oven and spread your leaves around it. Just like a dehydrator, you want to leave plenty of room for circulation. Since you’re using an oven, you want to avoid piling them on top of each other because it’s a fire hazard.
3. Monitor Them as They Dry
You’ll heat your oven to 135º F or even lower if your oven allows you to. You’ll need to monitor the leaves throughout the process, which is one reason this isn’t the most desirable drying option. There might be times you need to open the oven door to provide ventilation and to ensure the leaves don’t get too hot, burn, or catch fire.
Use a Microwave
Last but not least, you can use your microwave. Similar to the oven method, this isn’t the best option out there, but it’s an option, alas. Much like the oven method, this one has a burning or fire risk, so be sure to monitor the leaves at all times carefully.
1. Pick Your Herbs
Look at her herb plant and pick the best leaves that you want to dry to make tea.
2. Place Them on a Microwave Safe Plate
You’ll need to choose a plate that can safely go in the microwave. You’ll place the leaves on the plate, leaving room between each one. It’s imperative not to pile them on top of one another because they’re more likely to catch fire if this happens. You can also wrap them in paper towels, which increases your fire chances.
3. Heat in Cycles
Whether using a microwave-safe plate or paper towel, you’ll want to heat the leaves in cycles. This can help you prevent a fire or catch one early if it accidentally starts. You’ll want to heat in cycles of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off to ensure the leaves don’t get too hot.
You’ll want to check the herb leaves between cycles to feel how dry they are and if you need to continue heating them.
There you have it! You can easily dry your leaves to make tea whether you have a fancy dehydrator or absolutely nothing. Next time you harvest your herbs, try drying out the leaves to make a delicious cup of tea.